Sons of upper class families are likely to find a decrease in income and status even less tolerable than the sons of members of the lower classes. In the traditional demographic situation, the family elder may have died in his 40's or early 50's; then authority and income moved to sons who were in their 20's or 30's. With the increase in longevity, younger men often have to wait longer for their patrimony. Moreover, with a larger number of sons to share the family estate, each of whom now survives into his 20's (often with his own family), it becomes self-evident to young men that they will never be able to acquire the status and wealth of their fathers as long as they remain on the land. The movement of the sons of aristocrats away from the land in 18th and 19th century Europe was, in part, brought about by an increase in family size. Some younger members of wealthy Scottish families, for example, took positions in the British Imperial Service, and some sought positions in industry. Young French aristocrats joined the military. And throughout western Europe, the Catholic Church continued to provide opportunities both for the wealthy and for the poor.
Increased family size often promoted occupational diversification within the family. The poor moved into factory occupations; the sons of large landholders and aristocrats often entered the new expanding bureaucracies—the civil bureaucracy, the military, or the imperial services—where sons in high status occupations could maintain the family heritage and exercise authority over others.
Political Effects of Population Size and Density
Much of the popular discussion of the political effects of population growth has focused on increased density. When we think of population growth, we generally do not think of changes in family size, or changes in the age distribution of the population, or differential fertility rates, or even increased migrations, but simply that there are too many people. "Overcrowding" has been used to explain air pollution, traffic jams, the high cost of housing, the destruction of natural resources, unemployment, and even the psychic and political tensions of modern life, but these are more often the consequences of industrialization and technological change than they are of population growth.
Moreover, density is itself a relative notion with a wide variety of meanings. It customarily refers to the ratio between numbers of people and land area within a country, but this is a most inadequate conception for the purposes of this study which is primarily concerned with the frequency and kind of interpersonal contacts, and a land/man ratio hardly provides us with such a measure. Overall density for a country may be low, but because there is little arable land, population may be highly concentrated, Or density on the land may be increasing, but density per room is declining with an increase in